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Teodora Gavrilut, Chief Operating Officer at Creatopy highlights the importance of encouraging leadership and collaborative tools to create an environment where innovation can thrive.
Today, innovation can no longer be regarded as a business ambition but must now be seen as a key component to survival. Seemingly overnight, our usual ways of thinking and working were turned upside down with an acceleration of evolving business models and new approaches to creativity becoming vital to keeping afloat. Now we’re nearly a year on from the start of the coronavirus health crisis and it looks as if this need for innovation is going nowhere fast.
Within our industry, achieving true innovation is a consequence of bringing creativity and collaboration together. Creativity is at the core of any good business idea. The creative spark is often the precursor to a solution to a business challenge. However, that idea needs to be feasible for the business. A great piece of creative work is therefore the result of constant communication and understanding between team members and departments. From the designers to marketers, understanding the whole picture, how each other works and their needs is essential for transitioning an innovative idea into a final product.
So, how can we bridge the gap between creativity and collaboration?
The creation of a great piece of work, from an advert to brand message, for example, starts with the generation of an idea with input from a diverse range of thinkers.
We know that teams that are made of different types of thinkers are able to produce work that is much more innovative and pushes boundaries.
For example, creative minds during a project tend to have their own ways of thinking and working which can often lead to conflict and teams working against or beyond the standards of practice. This is important for generating new and exciting ideas. To counter this, those with a more conformist approach to working can mitigate against the conflict and ensure that teams try and stick to the standards of work, which can ultimately help an idea move through the necessary business processes.
But in order for teams to come together and build something, both sides of the table need to have the skills to communicate effectively and efficiently. For innovation to truly take hold within a piece of work, and even a company’s culture, all members of a team, no matter the skill set, need to be able to discuss ideas, suggest improvements, and make important decisions within the design and implementation stages. This requires an environment that encourages members to understand and empathise with each other.
Creative vision at the top is important in helping direct a business and its work in a rapidly changing environment.Teodora Gavrilut
To truly create such an environment a lot also comes down to the actions of the leadership team within agencies. Business growth and pushing boundaries are the results of continuous change, both in thinking and in action, with everyone on board for the journey. It’s critical that we leaders encourage our workforces to constantly question what’s creatively possible and do so in a way that keeps us connected to each other.
Our approach to this is two-fold. Firstly, when we’re not working from our kitchen tables, we see a physical creative space as an important driver of open collaboration and innovative thinking. We built an office space where all teams feel connected, and the leadership team could be transparent, supportive and encourage an open workflow. We even have our own orchard where employees can escape and pick their own fruit. It can be these physical facilitators of creativity that can lead to exciting ideas.
Secondly, it’s also important for leaders to have the right attitude. We believe that no idea is a bad idea, and we want to hear them all. In today’s world of remote working, this means we as leaders need to ensure that we’re working hard to connect with our teams, having chats and recreating those water-cooler moments virtually to create as many opportunities for innovative ideas to be shared as possible. We ourselves also need to see creativity as not just essential to our team's work, but also as an important component of our leadership styles. Creative vision at the top is important in helping direct a business and its work in a rapidly changing environment because it is a key component in the process of agile decision making that is necessary to tackle change and thrive.
With the likelihood of remote working becoming ingrained in our business models for the foreseeable future, providing the right collaborative tools is essential in maintaining a healthy level of innovation.
Online collaboration tools are a creative’s best friend right now. With our teams unable to share ideas and designs physically, it can be very easy for creative minds to lose focus and dismiss context which can often happen in an analogue solo workflow. This can lead to tensions within teams, missed deadlines and of course, a longer time to market.
Tools are therefore becoming an important replacement of the development process. Teams can come together virtually and work on ideas and receive real-time feedback from everyone, which will only speed time to completion and mean that creativity at work is used as efficiently as possible.
Ultimately, under a unified vision with the right team set up, the right collaborative tools in place and an environment where leadership teams encourage communication, feedback and creative freedom, great innovative work can come to life.
Teodora Gavrilut is the Chief Operating Officer at Creatopy. A marketing professional with over 15 years of experience, she is a curious content creator and an avid advertising supporter, building a career out of her love for technology and passion for marketing.
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